UNITED NATIONS: UN peacekeepers from Bangladesh, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Morocco, Niger and Senegal are accused of sexually abusing minors in the Central African Republic, a UN official said Friday.
It was the first time that the United Nations revealed the nationalities of the blue helmets involved in the latest allegations to hit the troubled MINUSCA mission.
In all, eight soldiers and two police face allegations including four troops from Niger who are accused of having sex with two minors, possibly in exchange for money, from July to October last year.
A Moroccan soldier is accused of sexually assaulting an underage victim in January 2014, said Tony Banbury, an assistant secretary-general at the UN peacekeeping office.
A soldier from the Democratic Republic of Congo, two police from Senegal and two soldiers from Bangladesh are also facing allegations.
The latest allegations bring to 22 the number of cases of sexual abuse and exploitation involving peacekeepers from the UN mission in the Central African Republic, out of a total of 69 worldwide.
The claims against the UN peacekeepers came to light during a UN investigation that also uncovered allegations against European Union troops serving in a separate mission.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will release a report next month detailing the cases and for the first time will name the countries whose troops face allegations, said Banbury.
The decision to identify countries is intended to put pressure on governments to investigate and prosecute soldiers who face credible allegations of sexual abuse while serving under the UN flag.
“We will be naming names,” said Banbury, adding that a website will soon provide more “information than you have ever seen before” about the allegations and the status of the investigation.
Under UN rules, it is up to the troop-contributing country to investigate and prosecute soldiers accused of misconduct while serving under the UN flag.